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Rachel Anderson, 26 Apr '13

He never saw it coming. Like good things in life claim to, it came to the boy waiting, waiting for the school bus to come, waiting for his mom and new sister to come home, waiting to graduate, waiting to grow up—waiting. It would be said about him that he was the boy who could wait forever as long as he knew what he was waiting for. But he never saw it coming.
His bowl sat on the steps, the grains inside growing soggier by the minute. He hated soggy cereal. Around the bowl, spots of milk were soaking into the hardwood panels.

The school bus had been early that morning. It was parked, not in its usual spot across the road from his house, but a ways down the road. Its flashing lights were overpowered and ignored by the ear-splitting siren calls. Neighbors milled about, moving their lips instead of their feet—or their eyes. They never stopped staring. With each passing moment, the crowd grew.

A broken man sat on the curb across the road from the school bus with his face in his hands. Men in uniform were now present. Parents had shown up and were escorting home children who could, at the moment, understand no more than the phrase “no school today”, but would be plagued with nightmares of what they’d rather not remember.

His school bag sprawled over both lanes of traffic. Books littered the road and papers were still in the air. As they floated down, a few of them happened to cover a shoe sitting alone.

The man on the curb muttered incoherent apologies that mattered only to the one who could hear nothing. When asked by badges and trench coats what had happened, all he could say was, “I never saw him coming…”

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